World Series champions South Africa started their defence with a title win in Dubai. Typically, Seabelo Senatla and Kwagga Smith were among the stand outs in South Africa’s tournament dominance, which culminated with victory against New Zealand in the final.
Smith was named player of the final but Senatla was among the best players at the tournament.
The New Zealanders, with a new coach and newish squad, made their first final in more than a year, but they were always secondary to the game’s best.
South Africa won 24-12 after leading 19-0 at halftime.
The Kiwis capitalised on a yellow card to South African Rosko Specman to score tries but South Africa finished stronger and made the game safe when Tim Agaba scored in the final minute.
Cape Town will host the next leg of the World Series next weekend. England in 2016 beat South Africa in the final.
South Africa beat Olympic champions Fiji 12-7 in the semi-final and New Zealand came from behind to beat England 14-5.
Tries: Snyman, Senatla, Smith, Agaba
Conversions: Du Preez (2)
Tries: Knewstubb, Curry